January 25, 2013, Langley, BC (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s hockey team (3-11-0-1) enters this weekend looking for its third win in a row on home ice as it will take on visiting Simon Fraser (11-3-0-1) Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
The game will be streamed live at www.fasthockey.com.
In three regular season games against SFU this season, the Spartans are 0-3, having lost 4-3 and 5-2 on the road and 6-2 at home. Including exhibition play, TWU, since coming under the Spartans umbrella in 2010, are 1-11-1 against the Clan. Trinity Western’s lone win was a 3-0 victory at home Feb. 11, 2011.
TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (3-11-0-1)
- BCIHL position: 6th
- Last weekend: Selkirk 2-1 W, Eastern Washington 6-2 L
- Streak: 1 loss
- 2011-2012 BCIHL Record: 4-15-5, 6th
- 2011-2012 BCIHL Playoffs: N/A
- Last BCIHL title: N/A
After a rocky start to the 2012-13 season, in which TWU lost its first 10 games of the regular season, the Spartans have started to turn things around over their last five contests.
Earning three wins in their last five games, the Spartans have proven to be a team on the rise. And with a 2-1 win over Selkirk last weekend, which was the Saints first loss of the season, the Spartans made a statement to the rest of the league that it’s not likely wise to take TWU lightly. Despite falling to Eastern Washington 6-2 the following night, the Spartans have no doubt caught the eyes of the opposition.
This weekend’s tilt with Simon Fraser is another opportunity to make a statement and, more importantly, climb the BCIHL standings. With nine games still to be played, there is certainly time for the Spartans to make a push for the post-season, but with six points separating TWU from the fourth and final playoff position, the margin for error is slim.
Prior to last Saturday’s setback against EWU, the Spartans had won three of four and had scored 18 goals over those games. If they are to have success this weekend against SFU, they’ll have to continue to find the back of the net with frequency; something that hasn’t been the case all season. Through 15 games this year, TWU has scored 43 goals for an average of 2.87 goals per game while allowing 76 goals for an average of 5.07 per outing.
Forward Jamey Kreller (Winfield, B.C.) has continued to lead the team offensively as he has eight goals and five assists in 15 games. Jamie Russell (Surrey, B.C.) isn’t far behind with four goals and seven assists while Josh Stephenson (Aldergrove, B.C.) has three goals and four assists. Newcomers Matt Ius (Pitt Meadows, B.C.) and Cody Stephenson (Aldergrove), who joined TWU after the Christmas break, have been offensive sparks as Ius has a goal and five assists in four games and Stephenson has three goals over that same span.
Goalie Tim Zwiers (Williams Lake, B.C.) has been getting the bulk of the workload this semester with Harry Fredeman (Ladner, B.C.) sidelined with an injury. Zwiers has a 5.43 goals against average and a .869 save percentage this year, but he was stellar in the Spartans 2-1 win over Selkirk, stopping 47 of the 48 shots fired his way. Fredeman has a 4.72 GAA and a .890 save percentage. The last game he played was Nov. 23, 2012 when TWU beat EWU 6-2.
SIMON FRASER CLAN (11-3-0-1)
- BCIHL position: 2nd
- Last weekend: Victoria 11-2 W
- Streak: 1 win
- 2011-2012 BCIHL Record: 17-2-5, 1st
- 2011-2012 BCIHL Playoffs: 2-2, 2nd
- Last BCIHL title: 2011
With 11 wins in 15 games this season, Simon Fraser, not surprisingly, has once again proven to be one of the leading contenders for the BCIHL title. Averaging a league-leading 6.4 goals for per game, the Clan has been an offensive juggernaut rivaled only by Selkirk and its 6.0 goals per game.
However, despite SFU’s impressive record and +52 goal differential this season, the Clan has looked beatable of late. In a mid-January road trip two weeks ago, SFU dropped games at both Eastern Washington, 8-7, and Selkirk 4-3. While the Clan won its other three other January games by a combined score of 30-9, there is certainly evidence that SFU can be had. But, given the Clan’s most recent result, an 11-2 win over Victoria, it could well be that SFU has already rediscovered its rhythm.
Simon Fraser’s special teams have been impressive all season as its power play is working at 25.0 per cent (2nd in the BCIHL) and its penalty kill has been clicking along at a league-best 88.4 per cent.
Leading the way offensively for SFU has once again been Ben Van Lare. Last year’s BCIHL leading point-getter is tied with Selkirk’s Jordan Wood for top spot this year with 11 goals and 19 assists in 13 games. Christopher Hoe isn’t far behind with six goals and 17 assists in 12 games, which has him fourth in league scoring. Jono Ceci rounds out SFU’s top three scorers with three goals and 19 assists in 11 games.
In net, the Clan has largely split duties between Graeme Gordon and Evan Kurylo. Gordon enters this weekend with a 2.92 goals against average and a .903 save percentage, while Kurylo has a 2.93 GAA and a .890 save percentage. Kurylo has played one game against TWU this year, making 18 saves in a 5-2 win. Gordon also played one game against TWU, winning 6-2 and making 19 saves. Andrew Parent was the goalie of record in SFU’s 4-3 win over TWU.